Things To Look Forward To In `99

January 02, 1999|By ARTHUR HIRSCH and Sun staff writers J.D. Considine, John Dorsey, Ken Fuson, Rob Hiaasen, Ann Hornaday, Laura Lippman, Robert Guy Matthews, Michael Ollove, Lisa Pollak, J. Wynn Rousuck, Linell Smith, Lowell Sunderland and Stephen Wigler contributed to this article. and SUN STAFF

Sure, this millennium thing is going to be thrilling. As highlights in American media hype go, it should stand alone. Imagine life as an endless Super Bowl pre-game show. Imagine a 12-month-long New Year's Eve party where the disc jockey keeps breaking in to inquire: "HEYYYYYY, IS EVERYBODY EXCITED?!!!"

So, not to suggest that there could be anything more fascinating than a year of 20th Century in Review ("... for a closer look at the third Wednesday of February 1922, here's this special report from Jeff Greenfield ..."), but one has to point out that aside from the dramatic buildup to Year 2000, there may be other things to look forward to in 1999.

We thought we'd put together a list of "99 Things to Look Forward to in 1999." Some of these things can be forecast with certainty, and are stated in bold type. Others merely seem possible, but perhaps should be included anyway in such a list ...

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates celebrates his fifth wedding anniversary on Jan. 1, surprising his wife, Melinda French, with a lovely gift: Portugal.

Former Gov. William Donald Schaefer returns to Annapolis as Maryland comptroller. In a gesture of good will, Schaefer agrees to move his car out of Gov. Parris N. Glendening's parking space.

The Microsoft antitrust trial resumes Jan. 4 after holiday recess. U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson leans over and whispers to stenographer: "... refresh me on something: are these jokers `bundling' the `kernel files' in their `cross platform' or is it the other way around?"

"Over & Over," a new musical by the creators of "Cabaret" and "Chicago" based on Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth," begins a six-week run Jan. 6 at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va.

President Clinton delivers his State of the Union address Jan. 19 in the aftermath of impeachment -- facing a U.S. Senate trial and devastation not just of his moral authority but of his historical stature. The following morning, Clinton's public approval rating exceeds that of Tom Hanks.

Extraordinary young pianist Helene Grimaud performs Chopin and Beethoven at Shriver Hall, Jan. 24, her first recital in Baltimore.

August Wilson's only play not yet staged in New York, "Jitney," a tale of Pittsburgh cab drivers, opens at Center Stage on Jan. 13.

Ex-heavyweight champ Mike Tyson fights Francois Botha Jan. 16 in his return to boxing after biting Evander Holyfield's ear. Tyson risks another suspension for fighting a man named "Francois."

Maryland General Assembly convenes, and adopts a joint resolution to install padding in the conference room where Glendening and Schaefer will face each other in meetings of the state Board of Public Works.

Jan. 20: First anniversary of the last day in American history when someone could say: "Monica who?"

Barbara Walters interviews "That Woman" on ABC-TV's "20/20" in early 1999.

Baltimore Orioles sponsor "Fanfest" at the Convention Center Jan. 22-24, featuring autograph sessions, exhibits, games. In one interactive game, fans "bat" against a life-size video image of Orioles ace Mike Mussina. In another, fans step into a booth to be "blown off" by a life-size video image of Orioles outfielder Albert Belle.

A radio advertisement says "a baby boomer turns 50 every 18 seconds." Among others, Mr. Baby Boomer himself, "Big Chill" director Lawrence Kasdan, turns 50 on Jan. 14.

Cubicle comedy moves from the funny papers to television with the premiere Jan. 25 of the series "Dilbert" on UPN.

Peter Angelos, patron saint of plaintiffs, announces $500 million settlement with the manufacturers of Wet Naps. Submits bid to buy the Eiffel Tower.

David Drake returns to Baltimore Jan. 27-Feb. 7 to perform his Obie Award-winning semi-autobiographical one-man show, "The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me," at the Theatre Project.

Norman Mailer turns 76 amid national hoopla over Tom Wolfe's best seller, "A Man in Full." Mailer publishes a critical and thoughtful essay on Wolfe entitled, "Yeah, But Mine's Bigger."

Pianist Radu Lupu performs Beethoven Third Piano Concerto with David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony on Jan. 21 and 22.

Rolling Stones begin American tour in late January with shows sold out, despite top ticket price of $300.

By late January, roughly 28 percent of Baltimore residents have held news conferences to announce they are not running for mayor. Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who started it all by announcing he would not seek a fourth term, declares he is "concerned."

Uncertainty ripples through the U.S. Capitol in early February as Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, presiding over President Clinton's Senate trial, is spotted walking down the hall with a book called "Impeachment for Dummies."

Academy Awards nominations announced Feb. 9. Tom Hanks nominated for best actor for his roles in "Saving Private Ryan," "You've Got Mail," "Beloved" and "Elizabeth." Hanks didn't appear in the latter two movies, but Academy president Robert Rehme says: "Tom's so darn likable, the Academy just couldn't help it ..."

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